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Daniel Strauss

Daniel Strauss is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. He was previously a breaking news reporter for The Hill newspaper and has written for Politico, Roll Call, The American Prospect, and Gaper's Block. He has also interned at Democracy: A Journal of Ideas and The New Yorker. Daniel grew up in Chicago and graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in History. At Michigan he helped edit Consider, a weekly opinion magazine. He can be reached at daniel@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Daniel

The National Republican Congressional Committee quietly blacklisted Jamestown Associates, a Republican consulting firm, for helping outside groups like the Senate Conservatives Fund, the National Journal reported Wednesday.

A senior GOP official confirmed National Journal's report.

The NRCC blacklisted the firm around the same time as its Senate counterpart, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). Unlike with the NRSC, however, the NRCC kept its blacklisting of the firm quiet.

National Journal also reported that the NRCC is telling Republican House campaigns to not work with Jamestown. The blacklisting cuts Jamestown off from major sources of revenue, and House campaigns joining the boycott could deal a big blow to the firm.

The move is part of establishment Republicans' efforts to tame outside conservative groups seeking to oust top Republican lawmakers who they deem as insufficiently conservative.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has taken steps to fight back against SCF and other conservative outside groups who have targeted him and other Republican lawmakers. McConnell has warned Nebraska Senate candidate Ben Sasse to stop associating with SCF and in the report about the NRSC severing its ties with Jamestown, a top McConnell aide compared SCF to "a drunk who tears up every bar they walk into."

Shutterstock / Michael Wick


This post was updated.

The Federal Elections Commission believes Republican strategist Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS, his pro-Republican fundraising organization, probably violated campaign finance rules.

The 2012 report, first reported by the Sunlight Foundation on Tuesday and released on Friday, recommends the FEC conduct a deep investigation of Rove's organization. But the report was just a recommendation and the FEC did not act on it. The panel in charge of opening an investigation was tied 3 to 3 in a vote as to whether it should pursue an inquiry.

Specifically, the FEC report said that Crossroads GPS had violated campaign finance regulations going back to 2010 because it did not register as a political group. In 2012 Crossroads GPS used about 40 percent of its money on campaign-related spending, according to The Washington Post.

Since its creation, Crossroads GPS has become one of the most influential fundraising groups with a huge amount of money to wield. If Crossroads GPS had registered as a political organization it would have had to name its biggest donors.

A Republican who recently announced he was running for Congress in Virginia opposed making spousal rape a crime years earlier.

The candidate, state Sen. Richard "Dick" Black, argued against criminalizing spousal rape saying it's highly difficult to convict a husband of rape against his wife "when they're living together, sleeping in the same bed, she's in a nightie, there's no injury and so forth or anything."

In 2002, when the Virginia general assembly repealed legislation that exempted spouses from prosecution for rape, Black questioned if it's even possible to successfully prosecute a husband if he were to rape his wife.

That's not all though. As Mother Jones, which flagged Black's comments on Wednesday, notes, Black has also referred to emergency contraception as "baby pesticide," called abortion in America a "Holocaust" and opposed putting a statue of Abraham Lincoln at a location in Richmond, Virginia that was previously a Confederate site, according to Mother Jones.

Black announced he was running for outgoing Rep. Frank Wolf's (R-VA) House seat on Jan. 9.

(Photo credit: Bob Marshall for Senate)

Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) will not be in North Carolina when President Barack Obama comes to deliver a speech on the economy on Wednesday.

Instead, Hagan will be in Washington D.C. as the Senate is in session during Obama's visit. The White House has brushed off suggestions that Hagan is trying to keep her distance from the president while she faces a tough re-election.

"I think Sen. Hagan's office has addressed that. I think she's here working on important business," White House press secretary Jay Carney said on Tuesday according to The Hill.

Hagan is facing a tough reelection fight. A recent Public Policy Polling survey found Hagan trailing or neck-and-neck with all the contenders running in the GOP primary to defeat the North Carolina senator. The poll found that in a head-to-head matchup with North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis, the frontrunner in the primary field, the Republican leads Hagan 44 percent to 42 percent.

Republicans have interpreted Hagan's decision as a sign that she's trying to get as much distance from Obama as possible. But Democrats say that's not true.

"Kay Hagan is fighting for North Carolina in the Senate because that’s her job and that’s what North Carolinians want her to do," Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee press secretary Justin Barasky told TPM. "Faux outrage from Washington Republicans and their special interest backers is nothing more than smoke and mirrors to distract from a divisive Republican primary and the reckless and irresponsible agenda pushed by all of the GOP candidates in North Carolina."

This post was updated.

Updated: February 27, 2014, 1:37 PM

Before primary season kicks into high gear there's another regular part of any election cycle: retirement season. Below is TPM's list of congressional lawmakers who have decided to step down. We'll continue to update this list as more retirements are announced.

Read More →

State Sen. Wendy Davis (D-TX) reported raising $12.2 million since she jumped into the race for governor of Texas.

That $12 million in the last six months is above the $10 million that Davis was expected to announce and actually more than Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) raised. Abbott, the likely Republican nominee raised $11.5 million. In total
Abbott's campaign said he had $27 million cash for his gubernatorial bid.

Davis' campaign believes she must raise over $40 million to beat Abbott.

One of the steps former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie has taken before jumping into the Virginia Senate race is to remove a clip of him arguing for comprehensive immigration reform.

Gillespie removing the clip from his website of him discussing immigration reform with CNBC's Larry Kudlow (which you can view here) is likely a sign that Gillespie is making last-minute preparations before he officially jumps into the Virginia Senate race to take on incumbent Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA). Politico first reported the clip's removal.

Comprehensive immigration reform is not popular with tea party Republicans or the conservative base, both of which Gillespie will have to win over to have any chance of beating Warner.

Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R), who Gillespie worked for as communications director when Barbour was chairman of the RNC, suggested to TPM that Gillespie is unlikely to run as a tea party candidate but he still is a conservative Republican.

"I don't know what he is going to do, but if he were to run I guarantee he would run the kind of campaign to win a substantial majority, not a narrow majority, that he would cast his net wide -- which is the right thing to do," Barbour told TPM in a recent interview. "Ed's a solid conservative but he is not a purist. He is someone who wants to see good policy adopted and he's not going to let the perfect be the enemy of the good."

Greg Brannon, the North Carolina Republican Senate candidate endorsed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), likened being on food stamps to slavery.

"The answer is the Department of Agriculture should go away at the federal level," Brannon said in an interview with the North Carolina Tea Party highlighted by Mother Jones on Tuesday. "And now 80% of the farm bill is food stamps. That enslaves people. What you want to do — it's crazy but it's true — is teach people to fish so they can fish. When you're at the behest of someone else, you are actually a slavery to them [sic]."

Brannon has also argued that bipartisan compromises in Washington essentially "enslave" Americans.

Republicans may not have to worry about Brannon's views on what is or isn't slavery much longer. A new Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday found Brannon's opponent in the GOP Senate primary, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis (R), leading the field. The poll found Tillis leading the field with 19 percent support followed by Brannon with 11 percent, Republican challenger Heather Grant with 8 percent and Reverend Mark Harris with 8 percent.

South Carolina state Sen. Lee Bright (R) suggested that Congress should impeach federal judges so they will get in line, and possibly start with the Utah judge who struck down the state's ban on gay marriage.

"These federal judges are absolutely out of control on so many different fronts and I think if you just took the most egregious case, possibly the one out in Utah where basically the state constitution is being trumped by one federal judge and, in a sense, the will of a sovereign state," Bright, who is one of a number of candidates in South Carolina's Republican Senate primary seeking to unseat Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), said in a radio interview with the Tea Party Express released Tuesday.

Bright went on to suggest that Congress should look at impeaching U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby who struck down Utah's ban on same sex marriage. Utah has since tried to stop gay marriages from happening in the state. Earlier in January the Supreme Court granted a temporary stay request to Utah over same-sex marriages in the state.

"What we ought to do is Congress ought to stand up and do its job and impeach one of these federal judges and I think when you do that —being a federal judge is a pretty good gig, and I think if you impeach just one, the rest of them will do the right thing," Bright said.

Bright is one of a number of candidates trying to replace Graham.

(Photo credit: Lee Bright for Senate)

Rep. Bill Owens (D-NY) announced Tuesday that he would not seek re-election in November.

"After careful thought and consideration, I have decided not to seek re-election for the 21st Congressional District this November," Owens said in a statement on Tuesday.

Owens is the latest in a number of House lawmakers who have announced retirements over the last few weeks. A day earlier Rep. George Miller (D-CA), a close ally of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), announced that he would retire at the end of the year.

Owens was first elected in 2009 after he won a special election, in what many media members dubbed a referendum on President Barack Obama since it was the first special election after his inauguration. In 2010 he also won re-election in a tight three-way race against Republican Matt Doheny and Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman.

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